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Ravencoin — Update 2020–11–03

If you haven’t been following the #thenest on Discord, or even if you have, there are a lot of rumors flying around regarding Ravencoin and its long-term future. I’ve been messaged several times and have tried to answer these questions one-to-one. I hope this update can save me some time, put to rest some of the rumors, and let everyone know that Ravencoin has a few great alternatives going forward.

Let me first say thank you to everyone that contributed to the Code Security Audit. We reached the threshold with the help of everyone, and some extra hard shoves by WhaleStreet, Blockchain Tiger, and Leon.

There’s a kick-off meeting tomorrow (Wednesday November 4th), for the specifics for the security audit. This audit will either find vulnerabilities that need fixing or give us confidence and independent verification that Ravencoin is a secure asset issuance platform.

There’s also a rumor that Medici is reducing their financial support for developers for Ravencoin. Ok, this one is true. But, Medici is working with me to create a foundation that will help support Ravencoin. They are also funding the foundation with at least $50K per year for three years. At a minimum, the foundation can hold signing keys for Apple development for mobile apps. It can also hold the remainder of the legal fund, accept donations for development, and can be a meeting place for development and projects. Plus it can do some outreach and education on how Ravencoin is a better platform for NFTs, STOs, and tokenization in general.

So, how does Ravencoin development get funded? That’s a great question. There are three promising options. If you’ve been following #thenest channel in Discord, you know there have been several options presented.

One option is for volunteer developers and generous donations for bug bounties to power the Ravencoin development. This is a great route if it works.

Another option is a private company that uses Ravencoin, and would contribute development funds, or contribute developers to the Ravencoin project similar to how Blockstream helps out Bitcoin. This is an attractive option, and there is at least one offer to get a company funded that could help support Ravencoin, and also use Ravencoin for issuances, and even build a trading venue for legally issued Ravencoin assets. This option would likely be funded through an STO using Ravencoin as its platform.

A third option is to have the Ravencoin network itself support the network. This is, in my opinion, a fantastic long-term solution. The block reward can provide support for development, but if there is a foundation that has proper governance (the tricky part), then it could also fund hackathons, sponsorships, panels, education, 2nd tier tools, limited project funding, and other Ravencoin enhancing activities. This is very likely to increase the value of Ravencoin well beyond the amount of value that miners might give up in RVN block reward.

Any of these options can work. Generous donations would be a great way to fund Ravencoin, but may suffer from tragedy of the commons or the closely related free-rider problem. The company idea is a viable option, and will work long-term if the company is successful as an issuance and trading platform. I like this idea because it is not controversial, and doesn’t require any code changes or network funding. The network funding by the network is great long-term option and closely aligns the success of Ravencoin with the miner interests, but does require the miners to understand these benefits and accept the transition. The network funding idea also requires a well-crafted governance model that can’t be gamed by those without Ravencoin’s best interest in mind.

I’ve been asked — multiple times — what my role in Ravencoin would be after January 1st. After the beginning of the year, I’m a free-agent. Medici feels strongly enough that Ravencoin needs to be independent, and that I’m a necessary part of that transition, so I’m no longer a Medici Ventures employee after 2020. This is bitter-sweet for me because I really admire what Patrick’s vision has created in Medici Ventures and I hope Medici succeeds wildly. But, admittedly, Ravencoin, and what it can enable, is my passion, and I believe it will ultimately be seen as Medici’s greatest legacy. With that passion, also comes a realistic assessment that development needs to be funded to keep Ravencoin safe, secure, and moving forward. I hope to participate in the next phase of Ravencoin’s growth.

A Ravencoin foundation is being set up so that it can take over the role of signer for Apple mobile app submissions, operate fall-back seed nodes, hold donations for bug bounties or development, provide education, and a be a meeting point for developers and projects. This is a simple filing with the state of Wyoming. It will be a non-profit with three board members at first. This is not the governance structure that would be in place if there were ever an option for network-based funding. It will initially have three board members — Me, Jeremy Smith (Medici CTO), and Doug Pepe from Mango Farm Assets (if he’s willing). The foundation is compatible with all three development funding scenarios.

This transition may be the best thing that ever happened to Ravencoin. I’ll communicate more about these options in the coming days.

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